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Why Are Capers So Salty?

Wondering why capers are so salty? Dive into this post and find out the century-old secret behind these little buds of wonder.

Welcome to our article about the mysterious and mouth-puckering world of capers. If you’re a fan of these tangy, salty little buds, then you’re in for a treat. If you’re not… well, my friend, maybe this post will get you to change your mind.

Capers are the unassuming condiment that packs a punch. They’re the garnish that’s hard to ignore, the seasoning that makes your taste buds sit up, perk up their ears, and take notice. And that’s largely because of their briny, tangy taste.

But why are capers so salty? Damn, am I glad you’re here reading this; you ask all the good questions! This one has puzzled foodies and culinary enthusiasts, if there even was such a thing back then, ever since people started preserving capers. So let’s get to the bottom of it.

What Makes Capers So Salty

The answer lies in the way capers are harvested and preserved.

These tiny buds are the flower of the caper bush, and they’re plucked at just the right moment, before they have a chance to fully bloom. Yes, you read that right—capers are flowers. They’re then packed in an acidic, salty brine, which gives them their sharp tang and salty kick.

It’s a process that’s been used for centuries, and it’s what gives capers their irresistible, punching-you-in-the-mouth flavor. So, the next time you’re adding a sprinkle of capers to your dish, remember: their saltiness is not just a side effect, it’s not what they normally taste like.

And if you’re not a fan yet, then give them a try. Now that you know all of this, you might be surprised at how much you’ll enjoy their complexity!

Should You Soak or Rinse Capers?

Okay, listen up. When it comes to capers, you’ve got two options: salt-packed capers and vinegar-brined capers.

You’ve got the fancy capers packed in salt—and then you’ve got the everyday capers pickled in an acidic brine. The salt-packed capers, they’re like the caviar of the caper world, real sophisticated, but good luck finding them in your corner shop. And even if you do, they’re not cheap.

But don’t worry, because the capers in vinegar are like the hot dog of the caper world. You can find them anywhere, they won’t break the bank, and they’re good enough, generally speaking, for your home cooking.

When adding them to a salad, cookbook authors recommend that you soak or rinse them first, so they don’t steal the spotlight from the other ingredients. But if you’re adding them to a sauce or soup, there’s no need to rinse them. They’ll add a salty tang to your dish that will leave your tastebuds singing.

Bottom Line

The mysterious, mouth-puckering world of capers is one that’s well worth exploring. These tangy, salty little buds may be unassuming, but they pack a punch when it comes to flavor. The secret to their briny, tangy taste lies in the way they are harvested and preserved; they’re plucked before they had a chance to fully bloom and packed salt or jarred in an acidic, salty brine.

Whether you prefer the fancy, salt-packed capers or the more readily-available vinegar-brined capers, one thing is for sure, they’re worth giving a try. Soak or rinse them if you’re sprinkling them over a salad, and leave them as they are if you’re adding them to a sauce or soup.

Know your author

Written by

Dim is a food writer, cookbook author, and the editor of Home Cook World. His first book, Cooking Methods & Techniques, was published in 2022. He is a certified food handler with Level 1 and Level 2 Certificates in Food Hygiene and Safety for Catering, and a trained cook with a Level 3 Professional Chef Diploma.